Seeing is Believing... Using Optical Illusions to
Improve Marketing ROI
In 2011, National Geographic Channel debuted a 3-hour “Brain Games” special which did so well that it was quickly made into an ongoing series. The show, now in its fourth season, has received the highest ratings for any Nat Geo show. “Brain Games” explores the idea that one’s sense of reality is not permanent, as we may like to believe, but can actually be altered and shifted. The show uses a variety of methods to challenge participants’ and viewers’ sense of reality in order to make them realize they do not have as much control over their minds and senses as they may have believed they did.
In a 2014 interview for Forbes, the host of the show, Jason Silva, explained why he thinks the show has been so successful. “I think people are naturally curious, and Brain Games has tapped into that curiosity,” Silva says. “Having your mind messed with can be fun. Brain Games is trippy. It unsettles your conventions of reality, and that’s a good thing.” As marketers, this show’s success offers a very important take away lesson. Individuals like to have their sense or reality and perception challenged in a non-confrontational way. People are naturally curious and like to be exposed to both ideas and art that makes them think.
In fact, people tend to spend longer studying these types of objects in an attempt to make sense of the illusion, rather than instantly recognizing the images as a paradox and accepting their perception is altered. This extended time of pondering is ideal for marketers as it allows them to actively engage the consumer longer than traditional design tactics. In today’s information overload society where consumers are bombarded with messages at an alarming rate, this extra time is an invaluable opportunity to deliver a brand message.
The various effects possible with lenticular printing, such as the illusion of 3D depth, image flips, morphs, etc. has a similar desired effect on your audience. As they interact with the piece and conceptually try to rationalize their perceptions, their “dwell” time increases, and in turn so does your opportunity to communicate with them. As an added benefit, consumers also tend to hold onto lenticular pieces significantly longer than traditional print and share them with others. This “sharing” may be an attempt to ensure they are not alone in experiencing the illusion, or simply to share the enjoyment they experienced. Either way, it provides marketers additional exposure traditional print would not have provided.
If you are a marketer looking to make a meaningful connection with your target audience, try lenticular and watch your own print collateral ROI improve. After all, Seeing is Believing!
Want other excellent examples of the use of optical illusions in marketing? Check out these links:
Ford Uses Optical Illusion To Let Consumers ’Park‘ Phantom Car
(Also, take note how they commend them on maximizing dwell time)
Ray-Ban’s Optical Illusion Will Hurt Your Brain, But You’ll Like It
Honda Uses Unbelievable Optical Illusions To Sell Its Fuel-Efficient SUV
(Again, how many times did you watch the video?)
Mercedes Look Twice